The Marianas Visitors Authority has been awarded a technical assistant program grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to upgrade its visitor data collection and analysis system.
The $202,000 technical assistant program grant awarded to the Office of the Governor will allow MVA to update its current collection system. The upgrade will make data provided by visitors on their visitor entry forms more readily accessible.
“The MVA has been using its current equipment to scan customs forms since 2007-2008, but in this age of connectivity, it’s time we adopt technology in scanning and data collection standards that has emerged in the data analysis and tourism industries,” said MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo. “With this new system, the MVA will have the ability to better implement best practices for data collection through a more robust system producing quicker processing of visitor entry forms.”
Prior to the downturn in visitor arrivals due to COVID-19, the MVA would input approximately 41,000-50,000 arrival forms each month (depending on peak or low-peak travel periods). Quicker data collection and cloud storage will provide the MVA and tourism partners more timely information and data analytics demographics and patterns of arriving customers to make more informed decisions in areas such as employee hiring and engagement, customer experience, and product development and delivery.
The grant application was facilitated by the CNMI Office of Grants Management and its Executive Grant Workshop in June 2020. The application was accompanied by letters of support from MVA board chair Marian Aldan-Pierce, CNMI Division of Customs, and NMI House of Representatives Tourism Committee chair Rep. Joseph Lee Pan Guerrero. (MVA)